Book Review: Children of Blood & Bones by Tomi Adeyemi

Published March 6th, 2018 by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Pages: 525children of blood and bone

Genre: Fiction (Young Adult, fantasy)

Purchase on http://www.amazon.com

Publisher’s Blurb: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The Author: Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.

My thoughts: Since it’s publication this year, this book has made waves especially in Nigeria but I was never really interested as it is a fantasy novel for young adults which does not appeal to me on a normal day. However, when my teenage daughter asked that I purchase the book for her to read, I dutifully decided to read the book after I had read the publisher’s blurb. I don’t do this for all the books my daughter reads but for books like this I would like to check if it is age appropriate for her even if I encourage her to read as many books as possible.

At the beginning, it took me time to get into the story but before I knew it, I was swept into the ‘Orisha’ fantasy world with Zelie, her family and her powers. There were  many moments of suspense that put me on the edge and this kept me spell bound until the end. Amari was my favorite character due to her selflessness and ability to surprise. I wish we can have more people like her who are ready to give up everything they know to stand up for the poor and oppressed. Inan her brother on the other hand, is a character I left the book still wondering why he made the choices he made or chose the path he took in the end, I hope someday it would be clearer to me. In a nut shell, ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ turned out to be an interesting book to read and it was really worth the while.  On reading the author’s notes,  I can not say that I understand the connection between the story and reason behind the author’s inspiration to write it, however I know that writers sometimes  express themselves in a way that may not seem clear to others. I recommend this book for those of you who love fantasy stories and yes, my daughter is now reading the book.

 

 

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KaweAfrica BookClub Lagos: A Book Reading For ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’ A Novel By Chimeka Garricks.

We had a blast at the Kawe Africa Book Club Session on Sunday, July 01, 2018 when they invited the author of ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’, Chimeka Garricks (my husband). It was exciting to meet other lovers of fiction like Segun, Chimdinma, Michael, Shikemi and many others. Author of ‘The Carnivorous City’, Toni Kan also attended the book reading session. The members of the book club used the opportunity to comment on their different views on the book and got a lot of questions they had for the author answered. The book whose theme is centered around the Niger Delta crisis triggered very important discussions around how Nigerians as a people can make a difference by being the change that we want to see if we really desire a better future for ourselves and our children.

 

Highlights

 

Tomorrow Died Yesterday: A Novel by Chimeka Garricks
Published: In 2010 by Paperworth Books
Pages: 415
Genre: Fiction
Purchase on http://www.amazon.com; http://www.booksmartsonlinestore.com
Publisher’s Blurb: It’s 2004 Port Harcourt, Nigeria at the height of the kidnap of oil workers in the Niger delta, a kidnapping goes awry and four lives are reconnected. Douye aka Doughboy the career militant responsible for the crime. Amaibi the gentle university professor / eco-warrior accused. Kaniye the lawyer turned restaurateur who tries to get him off and Tubo an amoral oil company executive. Against a backdrop of corrupt practices, failed systems and injustice, these four friends tell the story of oil in a region and its effects on local communities and the Nigerian larger society.
The Author: Chimeka Garricks is a Nigerian and Irish writer who was raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’ published by Paperworth Books is his first novel. His short stories have also been published by http://www.juked.com (‘I Put a Spell on You’), http://www.altarwork.com (“Tears in Heaven”) and http://www.kalaharireview.com (“Music”). His novel “Tomorrow Died Yesterday” is available on amazon.com and booksmartsonlinestore.com. He lives with his wife and three children in Lagos, Nigeria. You can follow him on Twitter @MrGarricks

Kawe Africa is a social enterprise that is aimed at developing human capacity on the continent by encouraging Africans from a very young age to embrace the culture of our leaders and empower them to take charge of their lives and become responsible for whatever they desire to become (Copied from http://www.kaweafrica.com)

 

Book Review: Becoming The Woman God Wants Me To Be: A 90-Day Guide To Living The Proverbs 31 Life by Donna Partow

Published: May, 2017 by Fleming H. Revell Company

Pages: 352

Becomimg the woman God wants me to be

Genre: Christian (Non-Fiction)

Purchase on http://www.amazon.com

Publisher’s Blurb: Proverbs 31 woman? No problem! In Becoming the Woman God Wants Me To Be, Partow gives women inspiration and practical direction to move them toward the goal of becoming a modern Proverbs 31 woman with purpose and passion. During this 90-day journey, readers walk the path toward better living in specific areas of life including: faith and spirituality, family relationships, health, business, home management, ministry and more. Partow’s holistic plan includes all types of growth – physical, relational, emotional, and spiritual. The practical action steps will help readers grow in character today, even as they set attainable goals for the future.
The Author: Donna is an author and motivational speaker with a passion to empower people to accomplish their life mission. Her books have sold more than a million copies worldwide and have been translated into numerous languages. A gifted communicator, Donna has spoken twice at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters and has been a featured speaker at Senator John McCain’s annual conference for women on three occasions. Donna initiated the concept and toured with Women of Virtue for three years.
She has traveled and worked throughout the United States and on six continents, including such diverse countries as Egypt, Turkey, Colombia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea. She’s as comfortable teaching in a mud church in Mozambique as she is speaking to thousands at a leadership conference. Donna has been featured on hundreds of radio and television shows. Over the past twenty years, her business ventures have ranged from marketing communications consulting to e-course development. She was part of the team that pioneered ivillage.com, serving as the Work From Home coach and co-creating one of the first content providers on the internet. Donna studied at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts & Sciences and Wharton School of Business, where she maintained a 4.0 GPA. She holds a B.A. in English summa cum laude from Rutgers University.

My thoughts: It has been quite a long but fulfilling 90-day journey with this book and I can confidently say, it has changed my life in so many ways. I am not one who likes to read non-fiction, however, I can say I was moved to buy this book (Literarily) in addition to the fact that I have always admired the qualities of ‘the Proverbs 31 Woman’. I would have thought that I had most of these qualities (well, at least some) but going through this study taught me so many new things that I did not know or did not think I was capable of achieving. The most visible change in my life which my husband and kids can attest to is in the area of ‘Home Management’ (which many people close to me think I am soooo good at). I learnt new and better ways to manage the home front a lot better, my health, my business, ways to win souls for Christ and most importantly the drive to start-up this blog. I am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to grow not only spiritually but in all aspects of my life as a wife, mother and everything that I am and strive to be. I have decided to use this book as a daily devotional which I will start all over again after 90 days (Yes, that’s how good I feel about this book). I encourage every Christian woman after God’s heart to get a copy of this book and go through the study. You will come out to be a modern Proverbs 31 Woman whose husband and children will rise up to call you blessed!

Book Review: The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Published February, 2018 by Tyndale House

Pages: 512

The master piece

Genre: Christian Fiction

Purchase on http://www.amazon.com

Publisher’s Blurb: A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison. Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.

The Author: New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include Redeeming Love, A Voice in the Wind, and Bridge to Haven, and her work has been translated into more than thirty different languages. She is a member of Romance Writers of America’s coveted Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

My thoughts: Francine Rivers is my best Christian fiction author and I have read all of her  ‘Christian fiction’ novels (she was a romance novelist until she became a Christian) with the exception of ‘Sons of Encouragement’ and ‘Lineage of Grace’ simply because they are both five books in one and I wanted the complete books all together instead of reading them individually (I hope to read these soon). Her books have always added value to my walk with Christ and I always look forward to reading her work. The Masterpiece is her latest novel and it is not different from the rest (although it did not surpass my favorite book written by her ‘Redeeming Love’). The story has yet again reminded me of God’s unfailing love and mercy upon our lives especially when we were not yet saved. As I read the story, the utmost scripture that came to mind is in Mathew 5:45 (its makes more sense when read from vs 44) where Jesus Christ  talks about how God makes his sun to rise on both  evil and good people, therefore teaching that we should love our enemies and pray for them. The lives of both Roman Valasco and Grace Moore show how God’s hand is upon everyone of us even before we know or acknowledge him. As the bible says, “He loved us first” and looking back on my own life, I see all the times God protected and saved me from myself even when I was living in sin. His arms are forever wide open to all who will just believe in the miracle of his Son Jesus Christ and his unfailing love will set you free indeed. On the side, I was also educated about Graffiti art (I never knew it was illegal) amongst other art related things that were new to me. I highly recommend this book. Keep reading, keep learning, keep growing!

Book Review: The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta

First published in 1979 by Heinemann

Pages: 350

Joys of Motherhood

Genre: Fiction (African Literature/Historical Fiction)

Buy on http://www.amazon.com

Publisher’s Blurb: This novel explores the life of a Nigerian woman, Nnu Ego. Nnu’s life centres on her children and through them, she gains the respect of her community. Traditional tribal values and customs begin to shift with increasing colonial presence and influence, pushing Ego to challenge accepted notions of “mother”, “wife”, and “woman”. Through Nnu Ego’s journey, Emecheta forces her readers to consider the dilemmas associated with adopting new ideas and practices against the inclination to cleave to tradition. In this novel, Emecheta reveals and celebrates the pleasures derived from fulfilling responsibilities related to family matters in child bearing, mothering, and nurturing activities among women. However, the author additionally highlights how the ‘joys of motherhood’ also include anxiety, obligation, and pain.

The Author: Buchi Emecheta OBE was a Nigerian novelist who has published over 20 books, including Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979). Her themes of child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education have won her considerable critical acclaim and honours, including an Order of the British Empire in 2005. Emecheta once described her stories as “stories of the world…[where]… women face the universal problems of poverty and oppression, and the longer they stay, no matter where they have come from originally, the more the problems become identical.”

My Thoughts: I bought this book at the airport (as usual) en-route Accra, Ghana on a work trip. I already had a book (The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers) lined up to read but I couldn’t resist the urge to visit one of the bookshops at the airport and decided to purchase this book. For some weird reason I have never read any book written by the author and it is actually unusual that up until now I have not read the books of such an acclaimed Nigerian author. Anyway on to the book! The story was quite educative first, because it has given me a better understanding and picture of the lives of most Nigerians during the colonial era. I was able to understand their lives and pretty much our history from the eyes of Nnu Ego. It was a sad story for me simply because most of Nnu Ego’s struggles as a daughter, wife and mother have not gone with colonialism but are still prevalent today in the lives of many a Nigerian woman. From the pressure to get married as a young woman to the immense depression that comes with the inability to have children and also the huge responsibility placed on the woman to raise her children and most often contribute to the family’s finances without being acknowledged . It is then right for me to say that we may have grown in so many ways as a people but in the area concerning the huge expectations placed on the shoulders of the average Nigerian woman. We definitely have a long way to go in this respect.

 

Book Review: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Published: May, 2017 by doubleday

Pages: 398

Genre: Fiction (Sequel to Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girl)

Buy on Amazon.com

Publisher’s Blurb: When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside–but he’s not alone.Rich people problems It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls.
With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises.
As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette.

The Author: Kevin Kwan is the author of “Crazy Rich Asians,” and the sequel”China Rich Girlfriend”. The international bestseller (Crazy Rich Asians) is now being adapted as a major motion picture. Born and raised in Singapore, Kwan has called Manhattan home for the past two decades but still craves pineapple tarts and a decent plate of Hokkien mee. Please visit Kevin at: http://www.kevinkwanbooks.com

My Thoughts: As I started reading this book, I realized that it is the last book of a three books sequel. Having read ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (the first book), it was not too much of a gap when I read ‘Rich People Problems’. Quite humorous, entertaining and informative to mention a few ways to describe this book. I will definitely go and get the middle book ‘Rich China Girlfriend’. Kevin Kwan has surely made an impression on me and I will say I have found a new author to follow.

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Published: June, 2013 by Doubleday

Pages: 416

Genre: Fiction

Publisher’s blurb: Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.Crazy Rich Asians
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

The Author: Kevin Kwan is the author of “Crazy Rich Asians,” the international bestseller now being adapted as a major motion picture. The sequel, “China Rich Girlfriend,” will be released on June 16, 2015. Born and raised in Singapore, Kwan has called Manhattan home for the past two decades but still craves pineapple tarts and a decent plate of Hokkien mee. Please visit Kevin at: http://www.kevinkwanbooks.com

My Thoughts: I bought this book on a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in May 2018 when I was attending a professional conference for geoscientists  (I bought two Kevin Kwan books as I realized the book had a sequel). I had been looking for a new author with a somewhat different style of writing from what I am usually used to. On my last trip to the US in April, 2018 (Houston. Texas) I had noticed this book on the shelves of most of the bookshops I visited especially at the airports and on this trip it wasn’t different. I decided to read some of the reviews on the book and they were all screaming “Read the Book”!

Crazy Rich Asians was not as great as the reviews made the book to be but as a great sucker for historical fiction, it gave me a good education on Asians in general and the region which up until reading this book I had very little knowledge of their different diverse cultures and lifestyle. I loved the way the author wrote the book with all the Singaporean slags and the translations at the bottom of the page. It was quite witty, entertaining and sometimes outrageous but at the end of the day, Singapore is now in my bucket list of vacation destinations (I think I will just add Thailand and Malaysia).

Book Review: Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo

Published in Nigeria by Ouida Books in 2017

Pages: 308

Genre: Fiction

Purchase on Amazon.com; booksmartsonlinestore.com

Publisher’s blurb: Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything -arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair.Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of the 80s Nigeria, Stay with Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of the time. This is a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and all-consuming bonds of motherhood. Stay with me is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.

The Author: Abayomi Adebayo’s stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia where she was awarded an international bursary for Creative Writing. Ayobami has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Threads, Ebedi Hills and Ox-Bow. Stay with me is her debut novel.

My Thoughts: My first reaction when I read the publisher’s blurb for this book was “This is probably the usual stereotypic story of a married woman who faced adversity due to her inability to have children” but my colleague, Ozoz (visit her blog, http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com) who gave me the book, encouraged me to read it as she raved about the book. She had marked and folded most of the pages like I would mark the pages of my bible and I thought “this can’t be that serious”. However, I was in for a big surprise as I was overwhelmed with a rollercoaster of emotions reading this intense story of love, innocence, betrayal, deceit and the burdens of the life of being a Nigerian or African woman. I loved the simplicity of the way the story was told and how fluid one event spurn into another. Ayobami has written a book that has spoken to me especially as a mother of two young girls to educate them properly in the ways of the world, particularly in matters concerning marriage and men. Unfortunately for Yejide, she had no mother to teach her and her husband cleverly ensured that she did not have any close friends to confide in or to get wise council. The level of her naivety in my opinion is not acceptable, however, this is a reality even in this day and age. I would recommend this book to all my friends and I rate it a huge 4.5 stars.